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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Copper adparticle enabled selective electrosynthesis of n-propanol

  • Author(s): Li, J
  • Che, F
  • Pang, Y
  • Zou, C
  • Howe, JY
  • Burdyny, T
  • Edwards, JP
  • Wang, Y
  • Li, F
  • Wang, Z
  • De Luna, P
  • Dinh, CT
  • Zhuang, TT
  • Saidaminov, MI
  • Cheng, S
  • Wu, T
  • Finfrock, YZ
  • Ma, L
  • Hsieh, SH
  • Liu, YS
  • Botton, GA
  • Pong, WF
  • Du, X
  • Guo, J
  • Sham, TK
  • Sargent, EH
  • Sinton, D
  • et al.

© 2018, Crown. The electrochemical reduction of carbon monoxide is a promising approach for the renewable production of carbon-based fuels and chemicals. Copper shows activity toward multi-carbon products from CO reduction, with reaction selectivity favoring two-carbon products; however, efficient conversion of CO to higher carbon products such as n-propanol, a liquid fuel, has yet to be achieved. We hypothesize that copper adparticles, possessing a high density of under-coordinated atoms, could serve as preferential sites for n-propanol formation. Density functional theory calculations suggest that copper adparticles increase CO binding energy and stabilize two-carbon intermediates, facilitating coupling between adsorbed *CO and two-carbon intermediates to form three-carbon products. We form adparticle-covered catalysts in-situ by mediating catalyst growth with strong CO chemisorption. The new catalysts exhibit an n-propanol Faradaic efficiency of 23% from CO reduction at an n-propanol partial current density of 11 mA cm−2.

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